Put It in Writing—Before the Deadline

Long v. Allen, 120 NM 763, 906 P2d 754, 1995

January 1, 1997

SANTA FE, N.M.--Reminder: Document the acceptance of a counteroffer in writing and make sure parties comply with specified deadlines.

The parties to a New Mexico residential transaction didn't do that, and the result was a lawsuit that worked its way up to the state Court of Appeals, according to The Letter of the Law, the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS'' legal newsletter.

The buyer made a written offer to a married couple to purchase their house. On the day after the offer expired, the sellers signed an agreement that the parties agreed constituted a counteroffer.

The buyer didn't make a written acceptance of the counteroffer, but she did go ahead and deliver her earnest money check to the title insurance company, contract for a property inspection, obtain a financing commitment, and sign all the necessary closing documents.

The sellers later questioned whether their counteroffer had actually been accepted and whether the purchase agreement was enforceable.

The Court of Appeals upheld a lower court decision, finding that the buyer's actions conclusively established that she had accepted the sellers' counteroffer by performance of what the counteroffer had requested.

Many Buyers Find Defects Despite Seller Disclosure

AKRON, Ohio--After closing, more than 45 percent of state homebuyers find property defects that are not listed on the property disclosure form, according to a survey conducted by the University of Akron.

''This very large percentage suggests a need to consider a revision to the mandatory property disclosure form,'' says the analysis provided by the university's School of Business Administration.

The results are based on responses from 216 buyers who had purchased a house in the state during the 12 months prior to July 1996. Ohio's mandatory seller disclosure law went into effect on July 1, 1993.

The defects discovered most frequently involve the basement or crawl space, drainage, roof, and water supply.

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